Losing Power

I came home from work yesterday to find our electricity cutting out. The inverter screamed at me for a while so I thought I better investigate before it exploded and the hubby told me off for allowing it to explode. After wandering up and down the boat for a time and turning off all electrical appliances and scratching my head in a rather clueless manner it was decided that the most sensible thing to do, and perhaps the most obvious, was to plug in each appliance individually and see which one was causing the problem.

Everything seemed to work fine when plugged in individually so I started to switch on different appliances at the same time. This probably wouldn’t take very long normally, but on our boat we have a multitude of “essential” appliances… chest freezer… fridge… microwave…toaster…tumble dryer… washing machine… the list seemed endless.

I eventually massed the courage to switch them all on together. The inverter didn’t like that and started screaming at me again. I really didn’t understand what could be wrong. We haven’t bought anything new… everything used to work perfectly fine when all plugged in together.

As a last resort I thought I’d try unplugging the shoreline power and reattaching it again.

As I pulled out the plug something fell out… and stared at me in a very dazed manner:

spider_750 It was a very large house spider. I’m not sure how it survived in the plug socket, but it did and seemed a little bit upset about being removed.

I reattached the shoreline power and… hey presto! Everything works fine again. The spider eventually wandered off. I think it has now taken up residence in the cat flap.

The Old Gravel Pits

Our mooring used to be an old gravel pit before a channel was dug to join it to the Thames. There are a number of disused gravel pits here. They are mainly used for fishing and soon the new Wilts and Berks canal will cut few one or two of them.

But for now they are peaceful and used mainly by waterfowl.

DSCF4709 DSCF4711



DSCF4706   DSCF4689DSCF4714


We like Samhain. It is, I think, my favourite festival to mark from the old calendar. Every year we invite some friends (mainly boaters) to join us for a meal.

With the help of these friends we decorate the boat:



And Rob and I carve some pumpkins. From here on the photographs are a bit shaky as the main photographer for the evening became very drunk (and passed out rather early).

DSCF4673We crammed the narrow boat full of as many people as we could and fed and watered them (though technically no water was drunk). We also set aside a place for those who could not be with us.


Will We Flood?

Any more rain and our little Boater's Garden will be underwater! There are lots of vegetables growing and I don't want to lose them to floods again...must run off now and perform a sun dance!


My friends have decorated the tin can to mark my birthday. They are also cooking me and the hubby dinner before we return to the boat for drinks. What lovely boaty neighbours and friends I have. The hubby is even going to bake me some apple turnovers...my favourite. I have already had such a lovely day with my folks and hubby...here's to a lovely evening too. :)

What Boaters Do Best!

Boating, booze and bbqs. It has been a beautiful Sunday so a few of us boaters got together on the Wilts & Berks canal for a bit of a social. The cats were not impressed that dogs were present and spent the evening curled up in the bedroom. The hubby took charge of the cooking and spent the evening in charge of 4 bbqs.


My friend's dog. I need to find another willing volunteer who wants their pet drawn so I can keep up the practise.

And Another Mr Hemming's Photo...

Sorry about the separate posts but my mobile won't let me add multiple photos to one post.

My Morris Dancing Hubby

Today is Mr Hemming's Day Of Dance in Abingdon. Lots of morris sides and belly dancers too!


Over the old gravel pits, Abingdon. The new Wilts And Berks Canal will one day cut through these pits and this basin will be full of boats and human activity. Until then the mist and waterfowl have the evening peace to themselves.

The Other Current Project.

Pet portraits. My friend has asked me to sketch her two dogs for her. I've never drawn a dog before. It seems to be going so horribly wrong! I'm going to take a break and come back to it later when I've mustered the energy to correct and continue with it. In the mean time...woodburnings are calling out to be varnished.


Mum and dad C are teaching me how to play The Lord Of The Rings Risk this evening whilst the hubby is Morrising. I seem to be leading a diminishing band of elves...


Note to self: See what happens when you're clumsy and heavy handed? Must work on not being such a numpty! And replace glass.

On Sale Now!

Local Roots in Abingdon are selling some of my wood burnings! I'm rather excited about this, though am trying to remain calm as they have only just gone on sale and noone has bought one yet!

Didcot Power Station.

From the top of the pill box.

A Mini Adventure...

On a mini boat. I joined the boys on an trip down stream to Culham where we found a pill box and underground bunker from World War II. I got to address my fear of heights as we descended into the darkness of the bunker. I also spent a little while dangling off the side of the pill box as Rob attempted to lower me to the ground. We are currently locking through Culham on our way home for tea.

Wood Burning.

Whitewater chose a celtic cross to adorn the futon which Whyte Swallow has been making him. We turned our friend's boat into a little studio whilst we are decorating it. Actually, Whyte Swallow is doing most of the work. I just keep her company to keep the ghosties away and every now and again I'm allowed to wield a paint brush. Anyway, this is a photo of me hard at work with Whitewater's celtic design.

Painting The Tin Can.

As the weather is not favourable for giving the beast an exterior face lift we have decided to pimp the inside instead. The aft cabin doors are now green. English Mist green, or something fancy sounding. I will wood burn two plaques of the green man (the leafy variety as opposed to the boat) to place on each side of the door. It might be a while before I get round to this though as Whyte Swallow managed to persuade Local Roots in Abingdon to sell some of my wood burnings! I need to make some for the shop, friends and family before I can concentrate on the boat ones. Right, only the hatch and bedroom doors to sand,prime and paint...

The Loo Run!

The elsan disposal at our mooring is currently out of order so Whyte Swallow and I took a trip on a dinky plastic boat to Abingdon Lock to empty our toilet cassettes. The river was slow and in was only when we reached the locks that we discovered that it is on yellow boards! That would explain the lack of river traffic...

Norah G (again).

From a different angle. I'm updating from my mobile so can't add any links but This Abingdon and Bones (see blog links) have both written about it.

Norah G

Or what is left of her above the waterline.

Morris: A Life with Bells On

As Andrew Denny has reported on Granny Buttons a rather small film is creating a rather large wave. Morris: A Life With Bells On is only being shown in a few small locations but there are more Morris dancers and "Morris widows" out there than in just these small communities where the film is being played. We would LOVE to see this film - a light hearted look at an obscure "man only" tradition (Oh yes, it really still is in some locations). As one of these aforementioned widows I urge everyone who reads this to sign the petition to show support for this film and to let it be known that we want this film to be shown nationally...

...And just to show that we appreciate our Morris dancers and their hanky waving, ale and cider drinking and bell jingling ways. Our local market squares and taverns would not be the same without them.

Anyone interested in knowing more about the Morris side that my hubby belongs to click on the link on the right. Remember, a Morris side near you will be recruiting!

Image from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/articles/2007/06/08/morris_dancing_film_feature.shtml


The date does not show on this new blog layout.

May be I should rethink the design again.

The Snow Has Melted...

...and the water levels have risen. My garden is underwater again.


Enough snow fell over night to hide our mushroom vents. It looks pretty, but the vents will need to be cleared.
It is snowing again!


Our view this morning.

From The Mouths Of Kitties...

... Little wrens are rescued. At least this one survived it's ordeal. Lewsey kindly dropped it into a pint glass for a quick and relatively easy release. Lewsey looked at me with disgust when I let it go.

Playing In The Snow!

Address To Haggis.

Burn's Night Supper saw Chris, in his best Mrs Doubtfire accent, address the haggis before it was devoured by a boatload of ruffians.

Address to a Haggis by Robert Burns.
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o the puddin'-race! Aboon them a' ye tak your place, Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy of a grace As lang's my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill, Your hurdies like a distant hill, Your pin wad help to mend a mill In time o need, While thro your pores the dews distil Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight, An cut you up wi ready slight, Trenching your gushing entrails bright, Like onie ditch; And then, O what a glorious sight, Warm-reekin, rich!
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive: Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive, Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve Are bent like drums; The auld Guidman, maist like to rive, 'Bethankit' hums.
Is there that owre his French ragout, Or olio that wad staw a sow, Or fricassee wad mak her spew Wi perfect sconner, Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash, As feckless as a wither'd rash, His spindle shank a guid whip-lash, His nieve a nit: Thro bloody flood or field to dash, O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed, The trembling earth resounds his tread, Clap in his walie nieve a blade, He'll make it whissle; An legs an arms, an heads will sned, Like taps o thrissle.
Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware That jaups in luggies: But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer, Gie her a Haggis!
We're still not entirely sure what it means.

The Ice Breaker.

The thaw has started and we were woken this morning by the shudder of the boat bouncing off the edge of the ice in the pool around us. It feels uncannily like we are forever bouncing off a lock wall... And into the wall on the other side. So, off I trundled, barge pole in hand, to free us from our ice prison. See the small section of broken ice in the photo above? That is all I've managed to do so far. The ice is over five inches thick and terribly hard work. I'll have amazingly magnificent and rather manly muscles before this day is out! I'm also hoping that by breaking up the ice the cats will not want to walk on it anymore. I've heard too many stories of pets drowning... Actually, dogs to be specific, but still, it's not worth the risk.

Morning Stillness.

Icy On The Inside.

It was so cold last night that our hatch tried to ice itself shut from the inside. We are beginning to thaw now as the temperature rises above freezing. I certainly wouldn't recommend walking on the ice now!